Living on a Stipend
One of the concerns you might have with commiting to a year of service is if you can live on a $1202.86 monthly stipend. Many members are able to do it successfully each year. You are the best judge of your own financial responsibilities.
Here are a few cost estimates to help you judge if service is financially feasible for you.
- Around $1000 per month: estimated amount of your stipend check after taxes (varies according to exemptions claimed on a W-4). The amount, before taxes, is $1202.86 per month. This is divided in two and paid twice per month (the 5th and 20th).
- $190: amount of money in food benefits per month for a single person (if you qualify; most members do)
- $5,815: your education award after completing your service term. Pay down student loans or go to school!
- $300-500: cost of renting a room in a shared housing arrangement
- $500-800: cost of a studio or one-bedroom apartment for yourself
- $600-900: cost of a two-bedroom apartment to share with another member
- $800-1200: cost of a three-bedroom apartment to share with other members
- $20-$100: electric bill for two people in one apartment (includes heating and cooking; most buildings do not use natural gas at all). Apartments will usually be on the lower end of that range. Power is hydroelectric and among the cheapest in the nation!
- $0: student loan payments (you can request forbearance on federal loans)
- $0: state income tax (Washington does not have an income tax system)
- Relocation: These costs will vary according to how far you need to travel to relocate.
- Apartment Deposit: Most apartments will require a deposit equal to one month's rent. If you are bringing a pet, a non-refundable pet deposit is also commonly required.
- First Month: The first stipend check is issued three weeks after starting your term; consider this in your planning.